FIRST: Rikki Jamieson (far right) leads the field home atop Vancenzo at the Ballina meeting.
FIRST: Rikki Jamieson (far right) leads the field home atop Vancenzo at the Ballina meeting. Stuart Turner

Early bird Jamieson steers $15 shot Vancenzo to Ballina win

IF YOU want to see Rikki Jamieson frown, ask her what it's like to get up at 4.30am every day for her jockey duties.

"Actually, it's more like 2.30am," she said wryly.

Yesterday's early start was worthwhile, though, with Jamieson, 22, bringing Vancenzo home for his first victory in the $15,000 Become a Corporate Sponsor Maiden Plate (1605) at the latest Ballina Jockey Club meeting.

The apprentice jockey said the triumph reminded her why she enjoys the racing life.

"Is it a good life?" she asked with a smile. "That depends.

"For me it's not bad because I don't have to sweat and work so hard on my weight as other riders.

"It's a pretty big thrill when you get a winner like today.

"It's very satisfying and makes all the hard work pay off."

Gold Coast-based Jamieson produced a superb run to steer the three-year-old bay gelding home.

The $15 shot was almost a length ahead of Miss Jody's Joy, with $2.70 favourite Don't Look Ethlen third.

It was the first win from seven attempts for the bay gelding, trained by Gatton's Reg Mackay.

Jamieson, who has been riding competitively for about three years, said there was more strategy involved in racing than one might think.

"The trainers tell you what they want from you," she said. "You do your best to follow that, depending on the other horses and what's happening.

"When you get to the 600m in a race like that, you are thinking about where you want the horse to be.

"I get an adrenalin rush when I'm in the pen (at the start), and then I'm usually calm and quiet when I'm out there.

"Towards the end of a close race like that is where the adrenalin comes again.

"It's a pretty nice feeling."

Jamieson said the dream of one day competing in the country's top races was a big motivation.

"You see those races and think, 'wouldn't it be great to be out there'," she said.

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